Six tips designers use to style an autumn porch

photo cred: startathomedecor.com

Pumpkin spice and everything nice Autumn is finally here!!  For a few weeks, my IG feed has been sprouting with fall/seasonal decor that I just wasn’t ready to embrace quite yet.  The biggest reason was that it was downright too hot here in Boise to think of warm spiced beverages, cozy flannel, and pumpkin everything.  With the “unofficial” end of summer celebrations last weekend, I am finally ready to jump in headfirst to the world of Autumn!!  Who doesn’t love the fall foliage in all those brilliant rich colors?  Not to mention the crisp mornings that allow you to cozy up with some flannel and pumpkin spice.  Autumn is here and it is here to stay, so why not usher the season in and create a porch vignette that just screams AUTUMN!  I wanted to share with you six tips designers use to style their fabulous autumn porch.  With these tips your neighbors will be jealous yet prepared to embrace the leaf raking, pumpkin picking, wagon riding season.

photo cred: instagram.com @allisongoesplaces

Tip one: First off let’s just start by saying this tip tops the rest.  If you follow any of these tips this is the one to follow as it couldn’t be more on point.  There is no such thing as too many pumpkins. There are so many varieties of pumpkins ranging anywhere from your typical round, plump, orange pumpkins to your squatty pumpkins, chic white pumpkins, and even funky green pumpkins.  Ask your local pumpkin farmer about non-traditional pumpkins and where to purchase them.  Buying 10 or more real pumpkins creates a beautiful and bountiful display that will allow you to have enough pumpkin flare for your spooky Halloween porch display.  Even better, if you buy from a local farmer who can tell you which pumpkins are the freshest you may even be able to carry them over to your Thanksgiving vignette.  The trick to making pumpkins last longer this fall is to paint your pumpkins or use stickers to decorate your pumpkins as opposed to carving your pumpkins which then tend to go bad in about a week.

photo cred: remodelaholic.com

Tip two: Create a layered look by using pots, stools or even straw bales.  Anything you feel can act as a riser to display your fall decor and help the eye move easily through the design will take this look to the next level.  This will allow for everything to be seen and have its place.  The trick is to play around with it until you find it looks balanced and complete.

 

 

photo cred: potterybarn.com

Tip three: Adding soft candlelight with lanterns are a beautiful way to bring a certain elegance to your outdoor fall decor. We love them for their versatility. Extra-large lanterns, such as the ones we used, can be filled with a variety of fall items including candles, small pumpkins, or faux leaves. Grouped between pumpkins and fall foliage, the lanterns are a perfect fit.

Safety Tip: If you choose to place candles inside your lantern, opt for flameless or LED candles. It is unsafe to leave a burning candle on your front porch unattended.

photo cred: homestoriesatoz.com

Tip four: Incorporating fall blooms is a must!  When you think of using blooms for your porch decor you tend to think along the lines of spring decor with all the bright blooms of the season.  Don’t forget about those fall blooms with all those rich colors and texture.  Using some mums can really bring in that element of autumn.  My favorite color pairing is green and white pumpkins with deep purple and white mums.

photo cred: diyshowoff.com

Tip five: If you only have time to add a DIY wreath to your front door this fall, embrace the fact that it’s going to be the star, and don’t feel shy about using bold colors. I’m always a fan of the classic gold, red, and copper color scheme.  Your local craft store can supply you with most of the items needed to make your wreath.  Using faux flowers and such is a great way to save money allowing you to use this wreath for more than one season.

photo cred: handywizardgal.info

Tip six: Plant in style with a planter that makes as much of a statement as the plant growing in it! Flank your front door with this stylish piece. For the fall season, fill it with layers of long grass and flowers at the base. These one-of-a-kind planters are the perfect fall front porch decor item that seamlessly transitions into winter decor.

 

Let’s Party Back to School Style

My sweet kiddos (including puppy dog) and hubby the morning school started…all smiles. My son can never look at the camera, I am doing good to get 2 out of 3 smiling with eyes on the camera.

Hooray!!  I made it through summer and I am still alive (how alive is debatable).  My kids started school yesterday and I believe they were excited to go!!  Sure there were first day jitters and worries of who will be in my class but as a whole, I believe they were pumped for the new school year.  I would like to take all the credit for that… haha, maybe not all the credit but some credit is due.  Why is this you ask?  Well, I believe it is because I have an awesome party every year the day before school starts that gets them jazzed and excited for the school year to begin.  It is something we all look forward to, just a little something to take care of the nervous nellies.  It also sets the mood for the beginning of the year entering the new grade with optimism and enthusiasm.  Having the day before school starts party helps them to set up for a great first day (and honestly first morning as there are no tears or complaints).  To sum it all up it makes the first-day run smooth as they are prepped and ready thanks to my party!!  Let me share with you the rundown of my party so that you can start a new tradition by throwing your own day before school starts party.  You will find this simple act will help your kids prepare themselves for their first day.

Photo cred: recreoviral.com

First off I ask each kid what they would like for dinner.  This is special because they pick anything I can cook for their “last meal” of summer.  They never really get this choice so it is fun and special for them to choose.  Yes, this means I may be making three different meals but I feel that for one day out of the year I can make that happen (but only one day).

Photo cred: Adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com

 

I also plan a fun and school-related dessert.  This year we had homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  Another fun and easier option would be sliced apples with warm caramel.  So many sweet tooth options!!

We play some fun “school themed” games to get us in the mood.  I found these amazing ideas on Pinterest (where else?).  All of the games work pretty well for all three of my kid’s age range (4-9) except for the word search.  My older two really like the word search (it is more challenging) so I just have to help my little play by showing her what to circle and she follows along feeling as though she were a big kid.  Everything else they can all play together keeping in school theme and loving every minute.  I usually buy a big bag of skittles to use as bingo markers and prizes for winning but the real reason I use skittles is because of this game…

scholastic.com

This is probably my favorite game to play.  I love to relate the questions in round one to those of summer past.  In round two I like to relate the questions to more of what they hope for and/or fear for in the new school year.  This allows for closure of summer and an open conversation of what lies ahead in the new school year.  We are able to talk through everything as a family while eating yummy skittles which if I am being honest helps in any situation.  You can really use this idea to create any questions or riddles to your desire or your kid’s needs.  This game is truly amazing as I learned some things about my daughter I never really knew before and not sure if she would have shared if it weren’t for the delicious skittles to provoke her.

 

Well, there you have it, my simple day before school starts party.  Super simple (maybe not super simple as I made three dinners) and fun way to get your kids on board with the new school year ahead.  Can you share any ideas that you and your family use to prepare your sweet kiddos for school?  If so let me know as I am always looking for new ways to switch up our party a bit.

Have a Terrific Tuesday everyone.

XOXO

Jen

Total Tree-house Thursday

Hey hey!! Happy Thursday everyone!!  I just wanted to share with you how fun our rooftop tree-house turned out.  We have had so much fun playing in our tree sanctuary that we don’t ever want to leave.  It was about 100 degrees this week in Boise and we didn’t even notice because of the amazing shade and breeze our tree provides.  Now, I can’t take credit for the build-out of the structure… that award goes to my husband but the layout and design are all my doing (with amazing ideas from my kids).  First off, let me just say how helpful this treehouse has been for us staying off-screens this summer!  It has been fun watching the kids playing card/board games or coloring in the treehouse because this is way cooler than doing it on the patio or indoors.  Sometimes they will even eat and FINISH their dinner on the rooftop. Honestly, I am starting to think this rooftop treehouse is magical.   Placing a snack corner loaded with healthy snacks is a must, along with a few activities and my kids will disappear for hours.  Sometimes I forget I even have kids (ok not really).  Bottom line is while this treehouse endeavor has been a big undertaking for my husband physically as well as a hit to our wallets, I couldn’t be happier with the decision to go forward with this project.  Best of all this project isn’t even finished, and when the last screw is screwed it might just be the most epic treehouse ever created.  I will walk you through our rooftop treehouse including a fun gadget pully system totally created on the whim by my amazing husband, who can think out of the box and work with nothing to make everything.  When we have toured the rooftop I will explain as best I can what the plans are for the first floor to be completed late fall or early spring (depending on the hubs work schedule).  Shall we get started…

Here are my munchkins having fun coloring and playing, it was so hot this day but we never even noticed due to the shade and breeze created by being up in the tree!!

The snack corner was a huge hit!!  My kids are always asking for a snack, (seriously they ask for snacks every 10 minutes, is this normal?) when I offer up veggies or fruit they reluctantly accept.  But I am telling you guys this treehouse is magic because when they are up there they will eat whatever I put in the bowl without one complaint.  I placed an outdoor-friendly teak bowl on a metal side table that can endure the outdoor elements.  It was as easy as that to create and works like a charm.  I also want to point out the black and white flags strung on black yarn that my kids and I made together.  We cut triangles out of fabric, the best part is they are all mismatched in shape and layout, (that’s what you get with kids but that is the vibe I wanted) then we used a hole punch to punch holes into the fabric to string our black yarn through.  Next, we hung our flags along the banister of our rooftop treehouse.  It was a great way to use up some scrap fabric and bring in a little style to our space.

I also wanted to point out the black and white color scheme I chose for this rooftop space.  I went with black and white as this is a gender-neutral color scheme (I also happen to have so many black and white items on hand to use, if you can’t tell, black and white is my jam).  So keeping in theme this rug that is roughly a 3×5 was perfect for this space.  The rug has a rubber backing that allows it to stay put, which is important for a rooftop space.  Now this rug wasn’t made for outdoor use, however, it is made from a synthetic polyester that will wick away moisture.  The rug also spends all day shaded so shouldn’t fade at a rapid rate.  I will one day replace this rug with an outdoor rug, but for now, this rug works as I had it on hand, used from our entryway, where it took a beating.  Winters and springs are wet here in the northwest and the rug spent many days underneath wet snow/rain boots and held up superbly.  This table I found at a thrift store last year for only $8, I didn’t know why I needed it but I thought for $8 I just did.  I hoarded it for a while and this summer I found the perfect use for it.  Again, with the amount of cover and shade provided by the tree as well as the finish on this table, it works well for this space until the weather changes.  In the winter season, I usually store patio furniture and outdoor objects in our garage to preserve the life of said object, most things on the rooftop will be stored alongside my patio furniture.

Now for the highlight of this treehouse… the pulley system created from a training wheel and paint can lids.  Seriously, I don’t know how my husband can come up with these ideas but when he does they blow me away.

With the actual wheel part of the training wheel used as the turning cylinder, and two paint can lids (screwed together and secured to the training wheel arm) used on each side of the wheel to guide and keep the rope in place, we placed a durable rope looped around the wheel twice.  Screwing and bolting the arm of the training wheel to the banister secures this pulley system.  Tieing the other end of the rope to a bucket with a handle, making sure the bucket is somewhat strong enough to pull up all sorts of random objects.  The kids love to pull things up using this pulley system and it is honestly the best part of this treehouse.  They put anything and everything in the bucket to be pulled up, sometimes not even needing to but finding a reason to use it is the best part of the day.

This is my daughter pulling up some cool beverages for the day.  Look at that smile, it says it all!!

So not only did my husband create the pulley and build the structure, he also built this cute bench.  It is the perfect size for the little’s and is really quite ergonomically comfy!!  It was mostly built out of 2×4’s and love, really what else do you need??  I made a bench pad for added comfort, using foam from the craft store as well as outdoor fabric in black canvas.  Tip: if you head to your local craft store now you will find most outdoor fabrics up to 60% off!!  The lumbar pillow, however, is not made out of outdoor fabric and will come indoors as soon as the weather shifts.  I just thought the bench needed a little touch of style and this pillow matched the colors splendidly!!

Just to give you some perspective as to how high our rooftop is and what it is like to be “in the trees” I added this photo.  When you are on the rooftop you really do feel like you are sitting up in the trees (how perfect since we live in the city of trees).  Now the kicker here is, there is an awesome platform from the rooftop to then climb up into the tree further if desired.  As a mother, it terrifies me but as a kid at heart, I am dying to try it.  The tree is perfect for climbing as it has strong limbs that are perfectly spaced.   It was always just so hard to get to the limbs as they were so far up from the ground before the treehouse was built.  Now with the perfect step stool a.k.a. the rooftop treehouse it is totally achievable.  Fingers crossed we don’t become a regular at the local urgent care.

Now let’s talk about finishing this project.  I will describe my vision for the first floor and as always I welcome any feedback or opinions.  So for the first floor, I am thinking we will finish off at least three walls leaving one open so to speak.  By open, I mean possibly using a lattice wall or something similar so that the first floor can “breathe”.  Having built-in treehouse structures before, by finishing all four walls, I have come to learn that by doing so its basically a sauna in the summer months!  By leaving the west-facing wall open, using a lattice wall on the first floor, which will allow airflow, results in the structure not baking in the sun.  With the sun setting in the west and our two-story house being on the west side of the structure, our house provides shade to the “open” wall. Hence the reason of the lattice wall being on the west side, if I flipped the lattice wall to the east side it would get full morning sun.  The other three walls will be finished in 2×4’s placed horizontally.  They will be stained the same brown as the rest of the stained brown throughout the structure.  I am thinking the lattice wall will either be painted white like the banisters or possibly black, I haven’t fully decided yet.  Now the front of the first floor, the north wall, will be enclosed with horizontal 2×4’s.  Once enclosed, I would like to create a circular door that will be a rotating swing open door, cutting out from the finished wall.  I also would like to create a circular window alongside the circular door that will rotate swing open as well.  When the door and window are closed they are flush with the remaining north wall.  I want to paint the circular door and window white to match the banisters up top balancing the wood tones with the white tones.  From there, creating a small porch deck extending from the north-facing wall by about 3-4 feet, enough room to place planted pots and small Adirondack chairs ( my husband will also build these, tutorial on this when we get there).  Inside the first floor, I want the east wall to house bunk beds, obviously on the miniature side, not expecting the kids to actually sleep out there, just to imagine and play.  I would also like to create a counter of sorts with cupboards underneath for storage, this would have to be placed on the west wall, as this would be the only wall left with enough space.  So the lattice wall will actually be only half-open lattice and half counter/cupboard.  Hard to envision, but I promise I do see this and when it all comes together I promise you it will be amazing!!  Can’t wait to show you!!

Happy Thursday everyone….hope it is a terrific day!

XOXO,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

How to Style your Mantle like a Pro

 

photo cred: decorilla.com

Hey everyone!! How is summer going?  I ask this because summer is seriously going… going… gone.  I feel this for many reasons, one being the sun looks different in the sky.  I always notice this in August, which is the ultimate start to a long farewell.  Honestly, once you start to notice how different the sun looks during the day and how much time you are loosing in daylight, you too will feel autumn approaching.  Another reason I know the summer has come to an end is the start of school…YIPEE!!!   Fall is one of my favorite seasons which is why I feel it needs its own decor all together.  Bringing in more earth tones in deep honey, chocolate and caramels is a must!!  So long summer decor and hello autumn.  Which brings me to the reason for my post, styling, and updating your mantle for the fall season which is just the start to a long run with holiday decor.  I always like to kick off the holiday decor season with a little fall display followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  And it doesn’t just stop there…then you have Valentines, St. Patricks Day, and Easter.  After Easter, I am so burnt out that I style spring/summer decor and don’t think of it again till I can smell fall in the air once again.  When I then feel ready to style something different and fresh.  So prep yourself and get ready to welcome all the seasons, starting with a few guidelines on one of America’s favorite holiday decor canvases, your fireplace mantle.  That’s right, the fireplace mantle.  Think about it, when you prepare for any holiday, say Christmas, you always think of the fireplace mantle first.  So let’s have a quick run-through of some style rules (I like to call them guidelines) to help us train for a long season of changing out all the beautiful things.

photo cred: David Tsay @ EHD

So long summer decor, let’s tuck you into your long winter’s nap and I’ll see you on the other side.  I may or may not have this conversation in my head… (channeling my inner Marie Kondo).  First, let’s start with clearing the mantle and prepping it for a new style.  I always enjoy switching things up before they get too stagnant. What a perfect time to do so with the change of the season.  I like to prep the mantle with a light dusting and cobweb clearing as my mantle has been neglected all summer.  Then I visualize what I want the outcome to be using my special recipe.  That special top-secret recipe that all the stylists use… ok, maybe not that top secret.  The first step in this recipe is to find an ingredient that is vertical or tall.  Something tall placed off to the side or sides of the mantle as pictured above.  The candlesticks and stacked books with the seal-like sculpture, (not sure what that sculpture really is but I totally dig it) create height in this example.  The second step is to find a horizontal/short ingredient.  Something that elongates your design such as the books on the end laying vertical or the sculptural like tray with a brass handle.  This helps to balance out the height, balance is the goal we are going for here so you may need to play with it a bit to find just the right piece.  That’s half the fun of it though (at least for me) finding the right piece to the puzzle and having fun along the way.

photo cred: studiomcgee.com

The next ingredient needed would be something shiny, in the example above it would be the mirror.  Now, you don’t have to use a mirror but something with visual texture in the realm of shiny would be just the piece.

photo cred: EHD

In this example above, something shiny could be either the visually interesting vase (the ceramic texture of the vase reflects light feeling shiny) or the beautiful sconce which of coarse produces light that is…SHINY.  While I love a mirror as much as the next person, I like to think a little different and be/do differently.  In my opinion, we don’t use enough sconces on the mantle anymore and I for one would love to see this trend reemerge.  All in all, this would be a wonderful alternative for your “shiny” piece.

photo cred: overstock.com

In the world of balance, what would the opposite of shiny be?  You guessed it, dull.  The fourth ingredient… something dull.  In the example above a black and white photo can really bring balance to your mantle.  Honestly, the element of the wood mantle is dull enough to bring in that ingredient all by itself but the black and white photos finished it off nicely.  Another good alternative to the black and white photos are some neutral colored books stacked in an interesting way.  The options are endless it is just up to the eye of the designer.  That is really all this is after all.  What you feel is the correct balance and what you like because, in the end, this is your home and your mantle.

photo cred: article.com

The last and most important ingredient, (at least in my opinion) would be the natural ingredient, the organic ingredient.  You will notice in all my examples pictured above, they all have some element of nature, a plant or beautiful twigs placed in a vase, etc.  If you know me you will know a design that truly feels fulfilled has an element of the outdoors.  Bringing a piece of nature into your indoor space always feels grounded and fresh.  Reminding you of the beauty of nature.

Just some more examples of some beautifully designed mantles.  I hope this post can help with any decor challenges you face in this upcoming season. When dealing with holiday decor, be conscious of the ingredients for a general guideline and place them where needed.  For example, something shiny for a Christmas mantle may be a shiny bell or an organic piece for Halloween can be some leafless twigs or jack-o-lanterns.  Another example of something for a Thanksgiving mantle using a verticle ingredient may be to use a cornucopia incorporating an organic ingredient with items used inside the cornucopia. Please share your mantles with me as nothing brings me more joy than to see someone styling and jamming to their own design.  I am addicted to design and would love you to supply me more of what I crave…beautifully styled spaces.

Happy tasteful Tuesday!

Best,

Jen

You Should Totally Paint Your…

 

photo cred: Studio McGee

What can you do with one gallon of paint that will totally change a room…baseboards!!!  That’s right baseboards, take a look at the picture above, and think how it would look if the baseboards were all white and flowed seamlessly with the walls.  It definitely wouldn’t look bad or would be wrong, but look at how it transforms the room to just add a splash of color to the trim and baseboards.  It is a trend we are seeing a lot of right now and I couldn’t be happier about it.  The amount of time and paint you have to put into this project is extremely minimal yet so impactful.  Now I am totally a white wall kinda gal but painting the baseboards with or without the trim and crown molding is a great way to add color and interest to a room of white walls.  Maybe that is why we are seeing so much of this right now….most of us all love a white wall but may be ready to have some fun with color.  Not to mention the fresh coat of paint to your baseboards, trim and molding will really freshen up the parts of your home that tend to take a beating.  I promise you all, with this simple project, you will feel in awe of what you created in no time at all.  So get ready for your next weekend update (ok that’s an SNL skit but you get the idea).

Now in my opinion (so take it for what it’s worth), this is the way to paint your baseboards unless you have a maid on duty 24/7.  A shade of white or beige hues with grey to green undertones is the best hue possible for your baseboards assuming you have a light-colored wall, (if you have darker walls try a trim in the same hue of your wall but slightly lighter or darker than your wall).  Why is this you ask?  Well, the first reason is that I predict the colors of 2020 will be more earth tones than anything, we will be seeing a lot of natural colors in warm beiges to caramel.  So to keep with the trends I recommend a natural hue like the ones pictured above.  The second reason is to cut down on the sight of dust and dirt.  A white baseboard, trim and molding can appear dirty with minimal dust and dirt.  A darker baseboard will also appear dirty sooner than later with dust and if you have an animal in the house, (it will be dirty as soon as you finish dusting).  So for a minimal chore and dusting effort (who has the time), this is why I recommend a lighter off white hue.  The third and final reason for a lighter baseboard hue would be for the longevity of this trend.  Who wants to paint baseboards every year when new trends sprout?? Not I!  Painting a lighter hue will ensure that you can easily decorate around this design.  Remember the 90’s when everyone had a red wall that shouted at you?  I do (my parent’s dining room is a ragging red), and those red walls are really hard to bring into the next decade of trends.  The lighter hue can go with almost any decor of your choosing.  Win-Win with fewer chores on the to-do list as well as taking your space into the next trend seamlessly.

Now if you are feeling bold and sassy with a tendency to try every trend, try this one for sure!!  Painting trim, baseboards, and molding as well as doors a darker hue is definitely eye-catching and soooo on-trend right now.  I love this look but personally can’t bring myself to commit to these darker colors for a long period of time.  I also don’t want to dust them on the regular, as we have animals that shed at my abode.  Like I said if you have a maid on call and a desire to really pop a room then this style is for you.  We are seeing a lot of black hues as well as some darker blue to grey hues.  In the first picture above you can see the trim and doors as well as the crown molding painted grey with blue undertones, this looks phenomenal with the light flooring and walls.  In the third picture above you can see the black trim, baseboards, and doors painted black and paired with darker flooring which is still very striking.  So the take away is this, the look can really go with just about anyone’s current taste.  It is just a way to mix it up, update a room with a whole new look, and do so with a low budget.

If you happen to update your room with this paint trick please share as I always love a good before and after.  With this before and after however, it is amazing how different the room can look with such a simple paint trick.

Have an amazing Tuesday everyone!!

Best,
Jen

Colors to watch for in 2020

Photo cred: PPG Paints

In light of my last post on color, let’s keep the ball rolling.  Let’s talk about some of the colors that will be trending in 2020.  While a few major paint lines have released their 2020 color palettes and named their top pick for color of the year, some (Pantone) have yet to tell us their top pick.  If you like to be ahead of the game to see what will be trending next year, there a few ways to predict what color story 2020 has in store for us.  First, let’s start off by what we do know for certain.  In my last post “Did You Know  Color is a Mood?” we talked about colors telling a story or having a “mood” so to speak.  Looking at what is going on around the world as a whole and summing up its story can really lend us a headstart on any fashion and design trend.  What we are seeing now are very chaotic times, busy times, people in general feeling overwhelmed and wanting to minimize and simplify as much of their lives as possible.  For example, we are seeing many trends in design with furniture pieces being multifunctional.  Making the piece of furniture a simple, functional and useable piece.  Take the picture below of the chair with the built-in table.  It has more than one function allowing you to sit and relax while having a place to set your book or beverage all in one.  No need for a separate chair and table.  SIMPLE. EASY. FUNCTIONAL.

Photo cred: UNIQFIND

So being in that mindset of simplifying your life, think what else and how else that can be achieved through color.  To simplify your life and calm the chaos you would start to think of calming factors.  Such as colors that can calm or ground a person.  That being said those are the colors we will be seeing a lot of this next year, 2020.  Earth tones can definitely ground a person, helping them feel more connected to the outside world and nature.  Bringing those elements inside their living spaces can really clear the clutter and keep you connected to the earth quite literally.  Behr paints is very much in this mindset which was obvious when they released their 2020 color story palette last June. There are three themed “stories”—Worldhood, Restore, and Atmospheric— that each contains five colors, all of which were inspired “from the desire to engage with the world around us and restore balance in our everyday lives,” according to a press release.  We are really seeing some earth tones in this Worldhood story:

Keeping with earth tones and mixing in some calming hues is something trending for 2020.  With so much noise out in the world (especially politically) we as a society are needing calm in our homes more than ever. This color story for 2020 is labeled Restore.  Restore has a calming color mix meant to motivate balance. Blues and greens make up the natural-feeling theme that ties back to the outdoors, “creating a soothing sanctuary” that is ideal for the environments that need them.

 

Moving onto Behrs third color story Atmospheric: a color combination that complements both modern and traditional environments through subtle pastels and neutrals. This results in a “dynamic yet deliberate color story appeal.”  Behr is really creating the color stories for every walk of life bringing focus to health and wellness.  I am 100% sold if this means color bringing balance and a healthy wellness into our lives!!

 

PPG Paints has announced their color pick for 2020 and I am loving this jewel-tone Chinese Porcelain.  This shade of blue can instill calmness as well as reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.  HELLO, Chinese Porcelain… I was sold at jewel-tone!!

One last thing I wanted to share with you; my design tip: getting the best of both worlds.  Designing with some top trending colors creating a complementary color palette, that has all the calm earth tones you can ask for!  Remember from my last post on the recap of color theory, complementary colors are those that are opposite of each other on the color wheel.  Well, lucky for us blue is opposite orange, therefore creating an eye-catching design.

Photo cred: PPG Paints

Using the color Chines Porcelain for you calming accent wall right next to your calm space in the room.  Turning to an accent piece or accent wall (in this loft pictured above) using the colors from Behr color story Worldhood; Rumba Orange.  Then speckling in some earth tones of Creamy Mushroom and Painters White from Behr, finding these colors in textiles such as some linens, curtains, and throws, all being very complimentary of each other.   Creating the perfect on-trend color palette, I for one am excited to see what more paint brands have in store for us in 2020.  Already such a great way to start a new decade with eye-pleasing colors.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!  Love and Cheers!

Best,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know color is a mood?

C

photo cred: ninetyfourdesigns.com

Can color really be a mood?  Yes, it can and once you understand the mood and feel of color you can better understand color theory.  That is color theory for design.  I am going to give you a few tips from the trade to better equip you to choose color when designing your home.  Designing your home can be a very fun and exciting thing to do, but sometimes it can be really stressful.  So let me take the guesswork out, and help you to make the design process fun and easy by giving you the knowledge and confidence to accomplish such a visual task.  So first, let’s start with mood.  If you follow me on Pinterest, (@cottonandchaos) you will see I have a board full of pins labeled “moody colors to own in 2019”.  While it is a zippy name to use it is also 100% true…colors are very moody!  What do I mean, well colors can portray a mood and once you figure out what mood and vibe you are looking to express, the rest is really easy.  So ask yourself do you want your room (in this case lets say bedroom) to be relaxing or energetic?  Most likely, because we are talking about a bedroom where one rests, I am going to say you would choose relaxing…right?!  Well, let’s think of some words that mean the same as relaxing; calm, quiet, and soothing, these are all terms that describe “cool” tones when speaking of color.  What are cool tones?  Well think of the color wheel (go back to kindergarten) and remember the three primary hues along with the three secondary hues.  We have red, blue, and yellow as primary hues and green, orange and violet as secondary hues.  So thinking of cool tones think of something “cold”…ice cubes in water, the cool blue-green lake in the mountains, and you will find the answer.  Cool tones are blue, green and violet, however, violet can be a tricky hue as it is made with blue and red, so looking for a violet on the cool side would mean looking for a violet with more blue than red.  Now think of the red hue, red is strong and energetic, like a fire burning, it is considered a warm hue.  Red isn’t a hue that gives off a soothing vibe so this would be a hue to navigate away from when looking for a relaxing mood.  So to better emphasize what I mean, I have some eye candy to check out:

Look at the pictures above, these pictures all display a cool color scheme using cool-toned hues.  Everything in the first picture from the blue velvet round ottoman, the black-grey painting above the sofa and even the bright blue-white of the couch are all cool-toned.  The second picture displays a color scheme with about 90% cool-toned hues.  The cool grey walls along with a cool grey rug pair nicely with the cool blue-green sofa.  The sculpture above the sofa displays cool browns with a cool white pearl-like center.  The gold table and lining of the sofa do show some warm tones in a yellow-gold hue but for the most part, this room is a cool color scheme.  The third picture is on par with the second picture with a 90% cool-tone scheme and a meer 10% warm-toned scheme.  Everything from the cool white rug, cool brown flooring, cool grey sofa matched with the cool green-blue accent chairs.  Topped off with cool white walls and a painting with cool-toned hues of green, blue and black.  The warm tones are coming from the natural wood in the coffee table that shows some warm yellow undertones alike with the stem arrangement resting atop the table.  Starting to get it? Great, let’s move on to some warm-toned hues.

 

Here we have warm-toned color schemes pictured above.  In the first picture, we have what seems to be a neutral color palette but look again.  This is a warm-toned palette because the white hue in this room actually has some warm yellow undertones which lend its hand to the warm wood flooring as well as the warm animal rug and warm-toned chair in the corner.  The first picture is 100% warm-toned.  Now look closer at the second picture above.  While 90% is a warm-toned palette there is a small percentage of cool tones in this living room.  Everything except the cool grey cushions on this platform sofa is warm-toned.  The third picture is again a warm-toned color scheme with most everything pictured having a yellow undertone.  The actual plants are the only “cool” color of green.  So now that you can see the difference between cool and warm color tones let’s look a little further into what they express.

Cool tones tend to express more relaxing and comforting vibes, a place for rest and calm.  Warm tones tend to be more energetic and vibrant keeping you awake and focused.  So ask yourself what kind of mood you want to express.  If this is still a hard question to answer, consider your climate.  If you live in a hot place, say, the coast in Florida, you will most likely choose a “cooler” color scheme as this will balance out your inner and outer environments.   Likewise, if you live in the cold mountains of Montana, you might choose a warm color palette to equal the balance in your environment.  This is why you see the coastal themed rooms on your Pinterest account in blues and blue-whites, too cool off the people that are drawn to this vibe.  Ski resorts tend to be designed with warm hues and accents to literally warm their guests up visually.

Okay, just in case you are still struggling with the concept of what mood do I want to portray, let me ask you one more question.  An old rule of thumb used by designers would be to figure if the room you are designing is north or south-facing room.  Why?  Well, north rooms get a softer morning light with more blue undertones, so if you felt that your north-facing room needed more warmth you would decorate with warm-toned hues.  Vice-versa with a south-facing room.  South-facing rooms tend to get the afternoon/evening light which leans more toward your typical warm undertones, so in order to cool off, you will want to use a cool-toned color palette.  By now I am more than confident that you can answer what kind of mood you will want to portray in any room you desire.

 

One more tip for creating a cool or warm-toned room that is inviting and allows the eye to move through your room with interest and ease; using complementary colors in an almost equal or a little less than equal percentage to each other.  Again, lets head back to kindergarten, remember the color wheel.  Compliementary colors are the hues that are opposite eachother on the color wheel.  Don’t remember the color wheel, simply google it, (I google everything).  Let’s explore this concept:

Let’s take a look at photo 1- The blue-hued cushions mixed with the cool-toned rug and painting hues are at a very pleasing 30% to 60% with the room being primarily warm-toned.  Photo 2 – is a perfectly balanced 50/50 with the cabinets being cool-toned and the bar stools being warm-toned, all balancing out nicely.  Photo 3 – This photo is more cool-toned than warm-toned, but still displaying an interesting balance between the two.  The warm tones of the wood stool and wood-based accent chair really compliment all the cool-toned shades everywhere else throughout this room.  Photo 4 – This photo is really quite fun as it is hard at first to dissect this room into a cool or warm-toned palette which leads me to believe that it is at a perfect balance.  The cool blue-toned wall mixes well the cool-toned painting above the sofa.  The sofa is green (which typically means cool-toned) but leans more to the warm side of green with some yellow undertones.  The cool white table with cool blue vases balance the warm-toned leather accent chairs.  VERY nicely done.  Photo 5 – A cool-toned room at large except for the warm blush/burgundy tones of the pillows and wood stool pairing nicely with the warm candlelight behind the sofa.  Another pleasing balance between warm and cool tones.  Photo 6 – This last photo is yet once again a perfect balance.  A perfect mixture of warm accents, such as the mustard pillows, warm-toned light fixture, plant stand and table pieces resting atop the coffee table complement the cool tones throughout the rest of the room.

With all the design eye candy listed here today, what is your favorite?  Do you prefer a tonal room with a solid cool or warm-toned scheme?  Or, do you find yourself pulled to a more complementary style with a perfect or somewhat perfect balance of complementary colors?  Knowing what you like will help you to determine your color scheme and mood.  Once you have decided on the mood you want to portray, you may then move forward in the design process with ease and confidence.

Pop Quiz:

Which Picture has a cool-toned color palette?

 

Which photo displays a warm-toned color palette?

This article is something I wish I would have had at my disposal years ago as this would have made all my design endeavors much easier.  Instead, I guessed my way through many projects hoping, in the end, it would feel “right”.  Many turned out great and many did not.  This would have made my design process so much smoother had I known how simple the break down is.  I hope this helps you in any design adventure you are undertaking.

Have a great Sunday and start to the week ahead.

Best,

Jen

 

Gallery Wall Dilemma

Gallery wall dilemma!! This was the gallery wall that I quickly put up for some color in my house when we moved in (almost a year ago).  I knew it didn’t look and feel right but I was just happy to have some color on my walls.  My general rule with color in your home, 90% white walls and 10% color.  If you haven’t gathered I am a total white wall gal, but definitely, love to play with color.  Anywho, I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to tackle this dilemma, and by dilemma, I mean this wronged gallery wall.  This wall needed justice and it was about time it was served.  So without further ado here is my new and improved gallery wall…

MUCH MUCH better!! Now let me tell you why this works and the previous wall didn’t.  My wronged gallery wall, (what we will now refer to it as) was too proportioned.  What I mean by that is, it had a center that was centered, (if that makes any sense).  This is a huge no-no, as a gallery wall should not have a center.  You may have a focal point like I do, which is the colorful, circular sand art (my son made, such a proud mama), but it should be slightly off-center in your gallery wall.  Second, no-no in the wronged gallery wall is the fact that I have all the same picture sizes and color of frames…BORING!  You really should mix it up a bit to allow the eye to move through your design, gallery walls are not meant to be “equal”.  Third, no-no in the wronged gallery wall is not enough pictures to feel my space leaving to much negative space.  Gallery walls are meant to be “cluttered” within reason. Show some personality and have fun with the placement, do not measure out the pictures to have equal perimeters.  So turning our attention to the “justice served” gallery wall notice how I addressed all the issues.  First off my colorful focal point (sand art) is off-center a tad.  I added more pictures and objects in various sizes to mix up my design and give it some character.  Using objects is a great way to break up a gallery wall.  I used a plastic face mask along with a basketweave placemat to really layer in the texture and shape.  I also added a few different frames or no frames at all which also helps it to feel less “perfect”.  And of coarse by adding more art, my negative space is minimized and helps the wall feel more complete and proportionate.  Sounds crazy right?!  But seriously “less is more” is not the quote you want to use when designing a gallery wall.  “More is better”, along with, “off-center and mismatched shapes and frames” all allow this wall to feel more akin and equal.

 

To sum it all up:

  • layer in texture and shape for more character
  • use different shapes and sizes of art
  • use different frames or no frames at all
  • do not center your focal point.
  • use enough art to accomplish a gallery wall without too much negative space
  • have fun and enjoy the process

 

The best advice I can give, grab those comfy pants, (if you know me, you know that I love a good comfy pant) turn up the music and enjoy the ride.  This is a creative process with no hard rules, it is more about how the wall looks and if it feels balanced to the eye.  Not balanced with a ruler.  There is a difference there and when you accomplish it you will know it.  Don’t get too frustrated or discouraged if you have to take down what you just hung up, (more on this in a sec) just know that Rome wasn’t built in a day so have some patience because, in the end, it is totally worth it.

Your best friend through this whole process will be command strips:

They will save your wall from too many nail holes which you will have to fix in the future when you feel like changing up your wall.  Also, they allow for more “flexibility” when trying to place the art on the wall in different spots to find just the right balance.  Seriously people…these are the way to go with your gallery walls.

 

When you feel that your wall is balanced to the eye and you feel complete, take a picture and look at it from that view, to make sure you feel that it is truly completed.

 

No more gallery wall dilemma!!  This made me feel so accomplished, something that has been on my to-do list for a year now!!  To find more inspo on gallery walls follow me on Pinterest @cottonandchaos.  Also, do you have any before and after pics of your gallery walls??  If so please share as I love a good before and after!!

 

Happy Tuesday!!

Best,

Jen

 

 

Boho Door Decor

So the 4th of July is over and the dog days of summer are at our heels.  The next biggest holiday to look forward too is possibly Halloween or the cooler temperatures of fall (that’s a holiday right?!).  I struggle this time of year, not just with heat exhaustion, but with how and what to decorate my porch with.  My porch is always centered around the next holiday or season, but with nothing on the horizon and my patriotic decor down for the summer…what to do next??  And then it hit me…why not try a boho theme that I have been seeing everywhere.  Black and white paired with a natural fiber, such as wicker, is totally my jam.  Everything I have on my porch is my favorite scheme including my DOG!  I swear when we picked him up as a pup, I never thought “he is the one, he matches my house decor…haha!!  Seriously though I love black and white and I love my dog, win-win!  Another fun fact about my porch is that everything is either homemade, recycled and/or reused/refurbished.  Check out my post on my wicker chair redo here.  Today however I am here to talk about my boho “wreath”.  Although “wreath” doesn’t sound quite right for this door decor piece, I can’t seem to find the right words to describe it.  What do you think we should call this?  Weaving?  Just not sure, anyhow, check out my quick, fun and believe it or not stress relieving DIY craft I created in about an hour.  The perfect summer porch retreat in the heat of the summer color palette awaits you.  So get ready to create yours if you too have thought about what to do with your porch in these last few months of summer.

Items needed:

  • A stick from the outdoors, thick enough to wrap the string around without snapping.  Long enough for your desired width.
  • Spools of string in your color palette of choice.  I used one whole spool of cream, however, I used more cream in my “wreath”.  If you decide to use more of one color, you may need to buy multiples of that color. If you decided you want longer strings than the length pictured above you may also need to buy multiple spools of the same color.
  • Scissors

First off establish a length to your own liking.  Remember you will be doubling the strings over when you tie a knot around the stick so don’t forget to take this into account when determining your length (look at the black strings above to see how long my strings actually are when folded in half).  I bundled about six strings together and when doubled over it turns to twelve strings which is a good size for a small knot.  If you want a bigger knot simply cut more strings to then double over.

Next, take your doubled over strings and loop around your stick pulling your ends through the loop formed by initially doubling your strings over, just like the picture above.

Here is what it should look like after a few knots.  There are many different knots you can make, or you can weave the strings as well, but for this tutorial, we are keeping it simple. To give you an idea, I chose to have a pattern of twelve cream knots followed by four black knots, three cream knots, four black knots, and twelve cream knots.  Depending on how wild you want to get with your colors and patterns, the options are endless.

Now for a few finishing touches.  I added a few braided pieces incorporating black and cream together to transition the colors more seamlessly.  I also added a few wooden beads strung on the black string for extra texture and dimension.  My wooden strung beads were an afterthought but I am so glad I added them as I think they really complete the look, don’t you?  I had some wooden beads on hand but anywhere you can purchase craft goodies you will find wooden beads easily.

There you have it, and if I do say so myself I just love it!  The “wreath” really “made” the porch look and feel like the vibe I was going for.  I love when I have a successful DIY’s, they totally make my day.  All the while I am going to enjoy this “wreath” more because I made it!  On a side note, my gardenia tree isn’t happy right now so I am trying to nurse him back to health.  If you have any suggestions on this I would gladly take them as this is a very moody tree!

Just a few environmentally friendly tips on how to keep this DIY a green DIY.  First off I found a stick in my backyard, don’t have one in your yard, check your local park (my dog is always bringing sticks home from the park).  Avoid using a plastic rod if possible.  The same thing with the wood beads, try finding them in a natural fiber (like wood) instead of plastic.  Last but not least, use a natural string like a cotton twine.  I found mine on Amazon but I don’t think you would have a hard time finding them at your local craft store as well.

Well, what are you waiting for… go and get that boho “wreath” on your door, just in time for the dog days of summer.

Happy stick weaving!

Best,

Jen

 

Home Improvements Made with Love

Photo cred: elledecoration.co.uk

Do you flip through Pinterest and Instagram or maybe even just design mags and think…wow how do they do this?   First of all, these pictures have been styled, shot and filtered to boot, so of course, they are going to look gorg!  In all honesty, if I cleaned, organized and styled my home for a shoot I am sure it would look halfway decent and I might even be impressed how well it looks through the lens.  But this is real life and I don’t have time to have my home in perfect camera shoot condition.   Not only do I not have time for a perfect home, but I also don’t have the budget to accomplish what they can with their deep pocketbooks, (nor do I really want them as this would mean I would have the capability to just throw away and create waste for whatever my current mood and style preference is).  If I had a deep wallet I would be vacationing more often and my children’s college savings would be in prime savings status.  So back to real life…I love these pictures and would love to recreate them in my home but without the price tag.  Is this even possible?  Yes, totally, with a little creative juice and will power there is always a way!  Let me share with you a few home improvements made with love that you can make with sustainable in mind.  Best of all when you make something yourself you love and care for it that much more. So put on your comfy pants (I always enjoy anything more with comfy pants) and let me share a few ideas with you to help you get started.  Let’s get creative…

Photo cred: apartmenttherapy.com

First off we have the painted headboard.  Don’t have a headboard, no problem!!  Just paint one.  Grab your paint, brush and some painters tape and get creative with your design.  The two pictures above are both painted headboards, whether you fancy a circular or rectangular shape, they both can be done in a day and have a huge impact!  The best part is, paint can easily be changed or fixed (an eco-friendly paint like limewash paint would be a great sustainable solution).  The only thing you are wasting is the initial cost of the paint and time, if and when you choose to change it.

photo cred: smartfurniture.com

No baseboards, again don’t fret a little paint can go a long way!  This picture has a painted wall about a quarter of the way up from the floors, to mimic baseboards.  You could always paint less of a margin or stay at a quarter for more of a statement.  Either way you are giving an illusion of a baseboard and the best part is it won’t cost an arm and a leg to have a baseboard with height.  This picture shows a paint with a suede-like texture which is what a limewash paint can do.  My favorite thing about a limewash paint is how eco-friendly, solvent-free and hypoallergenic it is.  Another bonus, it’s naturally bacteria resistant.  The cons of this paint are the limited color palette, mottled appearance hard to control and not to everyone’s liking.  It also may be hard to clean so use it in a less high traffic area.  But I am telling you the texture in the paint adds depth that is beyond amazing so definitely worth a look.

photo cred: cottonandchaos.com

Paint your ceiling a different color other than white.  You may even want to get bold and tape off a design (depending on, if your arms are up to a bit of a workout).

photo cred: domino.com

A simple floating shelf display like the one above is definitely jaw-dropping.  What makes it eye-popping is the ombre paint of the background space and shelves in unison.  Again grabbing your paint, brush and painters tape, along with some knowledge on hanging floating shelves (pre-cut wood pieces available at your local hardware store or better yet craigslist/facebook if you’re lucky).

photo cred: designindulgences.com

One last simple paint fix, painting the inside of your front door.  As seen in this photo, you can get a little weird with it (which I love) by taping off a design or simply just painting the interior side anything other than white, can have a huge impact.

photo cred: kitchendecornews.info

Drab shower floor?  Don’t rip out the entire shower if it is functional.  Simply refurbish the floor of your shower with a lovely wood pallet.  Using sustainable wood such as bamboo, so stunning and modern.  Best part bamboo can stand up to water quite well.  The small gaps in between the wood panels allow for drainage so no plumbing knowledge required.

photo cred: cottonandchaos.com

Not a fan of the hardware in your bathroom, but it is fully functional.  Simply remove the faucet knobs and spray paint them a color of our choosing.  I used Rustoleum metallic spray paint in black.

photo cred: The House that Lars Built

I found this idea that I must try.  I have seen so many amazing light fixtures made from wood beads.  Why not try a little DIY… one that I can design and call my own.  LOVE!!  For the tutorial click here.

Last but certainly not least, a DIY pouf for your inside and outside spaces.  Check out Rachel from A Beautiful Mess for this soft plush indoor pouf that your furry family is sure to take over.  Need some inspiration for your outdoor space, maybe a table, chair or pouf, check out lifestylespace.com.

 

Hopefully, this gets the ticker going and you have some great ideas brewing.  If you have any sustainable, refurbishing ideas to improve your home please share in the comments below.

 

Happy creating and happy living!!

Best,

Jen